Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wayne County Economic Update

Wayne County slipped back to its job-losing ways as 2014 came to an end. The county’s labor market has struggled since it lost its largest employer in 2011. Mitigating the loss somewhat, the current declines proved relatively minor. Nevertheless, downward movement in Wayne County’s unemployment rate has stalled and the rate has even ticked up in recent months. In addition, sales dropped substantially in the final quarter of the year. An improvement in construction permitting provided the most positive economic news. Overall, the county’s current economic indicators are limping along awaiting further improvement.

  • Wayne County lost 13 nonfarm jobs between December 2013 and December 2014 for a slight decline of 1.5 percent. 
  • A spurt in construction industry employment basically offset losses in the county’s leisure and hospitality services. 
  • Wayne County’s unemployment rate stood at 9.0 percent in March 2015, the highest level in Utah. 
  • Although joblessness has edged upward in recent months, the rate remains slightly below the year-ago figure of 9.4 percent. 
  • In the first few months of 2015, first-time claims for unemployment insurance followed a seasonal pattern. 
  • Most new claims originated in the construction and leisure/hospitality industries. 
  • Between the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2014, Wayne County’s gross taxable sales dipped by 12 percent. 
  • A drop in wholesale trade coupled with a prior-quarter adjustment accounted for much of the decline in sales. 
  • Retail trade, food services and accommodations all exhibited gains. 
  • In comparison to the previous year, construction permit values rose 11 percent. 
  • Both new residential and new nonresidential values increased nicely. 
  • Over the previous four years, Wayne County’s population has decreased by nearly 60 individuals due to net out-migration.